Faith Baptist Church
4258 Botetourt Road
Fincastle, Virginia 24090
Faith as a means of perception is necessary for understanding spiritual things. The Christian must live in this perception all the time if he is going to reap the benefits of his salvation, otherwise his Christian experience will never move forward. He will always be doubting God and questioning the authority of God’s word.
Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith (personal faith) it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.”
The writer obviously makes this statement to those still living in his day and our time as well. Faith for understanding spiritual matters is not necessary after physical death. Faith only applies to this side of eternity.
Some folks say they will not entertain the medium of faith for perceiving the unseen world. If a telescope or microscope along with science and math cannot give to some folks proof of a thing then they will only believe in what they see and what others see. Such unbelievers would rather fill in the blanks of life and death with speculation rather than inspiration. Many folks reject faith as a means of perception solely on philosophical grounds rather than evidence. In other words, if I can’t rationalize certain things, or I can’t physically sense something, (empiricism) then it must not exist.
One of our Lord’s own disciples felt the same way. The story of our Lord’s resurrection from his death as found in John 20:24-29 finds Thomas doubting the Lord’s resurrection. Thomas said unless I see the nail prints in his hands and feet, and the wound in his side I will not believe, v.25.
Eight days later Thomas would believe as noted in John 20:26-28. Thomas hadn’t given up hope on the Lord’s resurrection completely, so he hung around for over a week with the other disciples. When he saw our Lord, the Lord said to him, touch my scars and see it is me, and be not faithless, but believe.
Jesus Christ showed Thomas that though we may not understand all things, that doesn’t mean they are not true. At one time our Lord said we cannot see the wind; where it comes from and where it goes, but it does exist and we sense its power, John 3:8.
Please remember Thomas was with our Lord when He fed the 5,000 men, not including the women and children, with just five loaves of bread and two fish, Mt.14:15-21. He was on the boat out at sea when he saw Jesus Christ walk on the water. Thomas saw the dead raised, the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, the blind to see, the water turned to wine, the wind calmed at the voice of our Lord when they feared they would perish at sea. He saw all of this and more and yet he still doubted who Christ was. We see things every day and yet we forget they are miracles sent from God; that it is He who sustains the universe, Col.1:16-17.
According to Mark 3:14 Thomas was among the twelve sent out to preach the kingdom of God. Did Thomas like so many preachers and believers doubt his message and his mission and his Master?
Thomas believed only because he had seen and handled our Lord, but then Jesus said “blessed are they who have not seen, yet believe.”
Exercising faith will cause us to believe in things not yet seen. Our belief will cause us to acquire assurance that those things do exists. Once one believes the gospel message and begins a life of discipleship and Bible study that assurance will grow and one's personal faith will grow as well.
With the growth of our faith comes the growth of our convictions.
This spiritual growth, spurned by personal faith in God and his word, creates a sense of eternal destiny in the child of God. Personal faith creates a sense of accountability to God as well, and thus it fosters in us a desire to live a pure life, I Jn.3:3.
Belief in God relies on faith. Several factors recorded in the Bible inspire us to have faith in Jesus Christ.
1. Credible witnesses saw our resurrected Savior at the tomb.
2. All of the disciples saw the resurrected Savior and they were so overwhelmingly convinced of his resurrection that they were all, except for the Apostle John, martyred for their faith.
3. Paul had everything going for him as a blue blooded Roman citizen, a courier of the courts of Rome, a high ranking religious Pharisee of the tribe of Benjamin. He had rank, education, power, religious respect, but after his conversion to Jesus Christ, he gave all of this up, Phil.3:4-8. Paul lived a dangerous life until he died from decapitation from a Roman sword.
4. Another factor that should play into us believing in what we cannot see is God’s creation. God spread the heavens across the skies for us to admire, and faithfully everyday; we expect to see the sun rise in the east and set in the west. We see so much and all of these things are to awaken our personal faith in our creator, Rom.1:19-20.
5. And lastly we have a conscience that wrestles with right and wrong.
Why should we care about right and wrong if there is no standard for which to answer? We have this sense of accountability because God wired it into the soul which he has given us, Gen.2:7.
I used to love looking through the lenses of my telescope. I still do from time to time, but now I think I know why some keep looking. I think something inside of them is telling them that there is not just something beyond the stars, but there is Someone beyond the stars calling to them. Still they are not convinced that God exists.
Thomas was not easily convinced of what seemed impossible; that one could physically rise from the dead. He hadn’t given up and finally his patience was rewarded with sight. We are not as fortunate as Thomas who saw and talked face to face with the risen Savior. We will have to believe now, and wait until later for our belief, our faith, to be made visible.
Stay focused on the word of God alone and your faith will become strong. Do not get caught up with the passing fads of Christianity. Many fads are invented by well meaning people to attract the lost and disinterested saints to God and his church and these fads will change like the weather. Men will invent experiences for church worship to heighten a physical awareness of God, but they will not inspire real life changing faith. Nothing does this but the word of God. “So, then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Rom.10:17.
I hope to see you in church this week as we continue to faithfully open up the Living Word of God and advance our personal faith.